By Richard Myrick

After determining what types of positions you need to fill for your food truck business, the biggest problem you’ll face is finding good candidates to hire. The first thing you should do is determine how you define a great candidate. If you skip this step, you won’t be able to explain what you want in job descriptions and postings, and you won’t know what to look for when you’re sifting through resumés.

When you begin the process of staffing your food truck, you’ll be looking for individuals with either a specific skill set, such as having experience working in a fast-paced kitchen, or certain personality traits, such as being friendly and outgoing with the ability to provide great customer service, or better yet, a good mix of the two.

You can find the right people to staff your food truck in several ways, including the following:

  • Word of mouth: If you have family, friends, or former co-workers who know talented people or have contacts in the mobile food or restaurant industry, seek them out. These people are often able to offer trustworthy recommendations of experienced individuals who are looking for work. You may even ask your most reliable employees (if you already have some) to recommend their friends or people they know who would be a good fit for your business.
  • Online postings: The Internet is a gigantic information hub. You can post job openings on a variety of websites, and conversely, people looking for jobs can now browse and apply to jobs entirely via the Internet. Some of these job posting sites include Monster, Craigslist, Indeed, and LinkedIn.
  • Local newspaper and trade magazine advertisements: Although newspaper and magazine subscriptions have dwindled over the years, these ads can still be a good way to find candidates for your food truck enterprise. Before you spend any money on posting a local newspaper ad, do some research into the subscriber demographics and make sure they cater to the types of individuals you’re looking to hire. Some food industry trade magazines you may want to check out include National Restaurant News, Mobile Cuisine, and QSR Magazine.
  • Local schools: Reaching out to local high schools, colleges, or culinary schools can be a great way to find full- and part-time staff. Talk to the school administrator to find out whether the school has an intern program where these students can receive credit for working at a job in their projected career path. In some cases, you can hire these individuals without having to pay them because they’re receiving school credits for doing this work; however, students will normally be able to work for you in this type of program for only one semester.

Although rookies and interns are good candidates to hire, be sure you have some veteran kitchen talent who can handle the heavy lifting.

Online and print ads are currently the most popular way of finding food truck staff members for one simple reason: Hiring is a numbers game. The more people you’re able to reach, the more people will respond, and you’re bound to find a few diamonds in the rough.

Some people in the food truck industry will tell you that a good way to find the most qualified candidates is to poach them from your competition; it’s not advisable, though. The truth is that if you attempt to lure employees away from other truck owners, you’re more likely to have the same thing done to you, and at the same time, you create a level of animosity between you and those truck owners.